Google+ Followers

Friday, 31 October 2014

Photos From October

Part two - Run, fun at Pendle and more!

Photos From October

Part one - Preston Comic-Con

Time To Reflect

It's been nine months since I found out I had Cancer, and although I don't really like using the term - it's been quite a journey. When looking back at the last 9 months myself and my family have been through a lot. From my world being ripped apart when Mr Ball said that the tumour was malignent to having Chemotherapy start almost immediately in a whirlwind of February after having investigative day surgery and numerous appointments. Then followed a major operation to remove what I thought would be an integral organ for eating and digestion (but what do I know) and then more Chemotherapy. In some ways it's like it hasn't happened to me, obviously I know I have been through it, I still feel it everyday, everytime I eat, but it seems like so much has happened I can't take it all in and it seems like so much has happened that it simply can't be true. Am I in denial? Surely all of this can't have happened to me! It is so strange that it has happened, and I am glad I have written the blog to remind me of all I have gone through. All of this year has been a blur and I seem to have come out of it relatively well and unscathed (Ok I have a huge scar across my abdomen, but thats the only noticlable difference) If you look at me you wouldn't know what I have been through and also that I have no stomach - NO STOMACH, how crazy is that!! I went to the local shop today and saw a friend who said I looked great, in fact most people I see say the same thing, which is quite an ego boost, but in reality I look no different and if you didn't know me, you wouldn't know any different. If people ask if having cancer has changed me in any way, I would say so. I don't dwell on the insignificant things that used to wind me up. I can't stand people worrying about things that can't be changed. I was stood at the bus stop the other week and people were complaining that the bus was late. It was late by about a minute, but why worry about this or let it get under your skin, there are bigger problems out there. Such a first world problem. So what if you are 2 minutes late. I have also learnt to appreciate the stuff that really matters, family and friends. As long as you have people in your life that care for you, and that you care about, then you should be happy. So yeah, I have learnt not to fret about the stupid things but care for the important people more, appreciate what you have and do the best with it, it may not last long and the world could end tomorrow. But live in the moment and enjoy what you are given. So cliched but true.

Back On Track

I have had an awesome week this week. At the weekend our very good friends Ema and Dan visited again and we all went to the first ever Comic-Con at Preston’s Guildhall. It was very busy which goes to show that there is a thirst for this type of event and I hope that it will continue and grow bigger over the next few years. The kids, Oscar and Sidney, loved dressing up as Batman and Spiderman. They also liked meeting Storm Troopers, Batman and Bane and had their photos taken with all the heroes. It was a really good family day out and something that we would definitely do again. In the evening we had more friends over to celebrate my birthday and the end of Chemotherapy. My birthday was last month but I was still undergoing treatment so couldn’t celebrate how I wanted to, so there was a lot of drinking and we all had fun. The kids stayed over at my mum and dads, leaving us to relax and enjoy ourselves. Sunday was a relaxing day where we played monopoly, which the kids have to win, but it was good to spend time with them, especially as we missed them over night. As it is half term my twin sister, Janette, is up visiting from Wiltshire with her two children, Arthur and Alice. Unfortunately I had to go into work on Monday for a meeting even though I had booked the week off. I was happy to go in and found it very productive and informative so I was glad I went, I even had a gluten free lunch ordered for me which was nice and very thoughtful. Going into work meant I missed Janette on Monday, but we made up for this on Tuesday and took them all to Barley in East Lancashire and the Pendle Sculpture Trail. Although it was a bit wet, we still enjoyed ourselves and the kids love finding the sculptures and the witches plaques. We explained the story to them and made it interesting which isn’t hard considering its Halloween later this week, we just fed their imagination. I then cooked my signature dish of Sweet Chili Duck, Sweet and Sour Chicken and Egg Fried Rice for the entire family in the evening and I was provided with a few compliments too. As Janette is also interested in keeping fit, she offered to take me out for my first run on Wednesday morning. I was nervous to go running again, only the second time since my operation in June. I was apprehensive about it, but went through my “getting ready” routine which helped put me at ease a little. I warmed up on my way to meeting Janette and was thinking about how cold it was. This was soon pushed out of my mind as we ran together and we warmed up. It was only a short run of 5k (about 3 miles) but I was so happy about running again, I could have gone further. This has now spurred me on to run more frequently and ease myself back to full fitness. This is compounded with my new gadget which I got for my birthday, a health and fitness tracker. I look a bit silly wearing two watches, one on each wrist, but I am interested in my own health and I love the data I get back (yes I am a geek). All this pushes me to go further, run harder and go longer. I hope that this is now the case and that I back with a training head, working for a massive goal next year. I feel as though I am now over the Cancer and my body is responding well. I still get tired and my fingers are numb, but I want to do more and see what my body is capable off again. The efforts of Ben Ashworth (@chemodadruns) running 7 marathons in 7 months while undergoing Chemotherapy really astounds me, how did he do it? My hat goes off to him, but this drives me to better fitness. I still have a lot to look forward to in the next couple of weeks; this weekend is the Winter Wonderland in aid of Rosemere and Neo-Natal Unit and organised by the friends of Emma Grandison who is battling Bowel Cancer, she is a real fighter. I am really looking forward to this event as it will be a formal night out and we can all dress up. The week later is Rosemere’s Cake Off at Kingsfold Community Centre, where I will be a judge. Although I won’t be able to eat them I will judge on appearance. These events will all raise much needed funds for Rosemere Cancer Foundation and the details can be found on their website. With so much to look forward to I forget that I still have treatment for the trial drug, which is easy enough but still the apprehension remains as it means taking toxic drugs to kill any remaining cancer lurking around, but it’s for the best and at the moment I really can’t complain, as I feel great!

Stand Up To Cancer

This week I feel that my life is back on track and more normal. I am back at work almost full time and it is going well. Over the weekend we had some friends over to stay, Gemma and Sam and their two kids Jessica and Jack. On Sunday we went to the Christening of Elliott, the first child to some friends Michelle and Nicholas. It was a really good weekend overall but I needed to have a long nap on both Saturday and Sunday. The only noticeable difference is my energy levels and numbness in my fingers and toes, both of which are to be expected. I also have a lingering cold which I can’t shift, probably due to a weakened immune system – none of this I can really complain about considering what some people go through. After watching “Stand Up To Cancer” on Friday on TV, it really hit home how much Cancer really affects people, I really do consider myself one of the lucky ones. In reality, although we have struggled at some points over the last year, I always knew that I could beat this and had that in the back of my mind throughout the whole treatment. Others don’t have that luxury and I don’t think I would be able to cope if my diagnosis was terminal. My thoughts were with the people that I have met at Rosemere during treatment who have been diagnosed as terminal; what they have to go through and the treatment, knowing that it is an extension (in some cases) to a date they have been given. It must really blow their world apart and it must be difficult to deal with. These feelings were compounded when I learnt about Lynda Bellingham who had hoped to see Christmas but sadly succumbed to her cancer battle at the weekend. It shows that cancer really does affect everyone in some way and no matter how far you may feel distanced from it, the chances are that one day you will be affected in some way or another. “Stand Up To Cancer” also provided a hopeful message though, that the chances of survival from most cancers is now better than it has been previously and that there is so much research into the causes and treatment that people in the future will have a better and longer life through their treatment and hopefully have the chance to have a life after cancer like myself. I am one of the lucky ones but hopefully with the trial that I am currently going through, this will help people in the future, I feel that probably due to my age, health and fitness, I was probably the right person to go through this, so that I could help people, and that hopefully what the doctors learn from my cancer and the effects of the drugs I have been given they will understand that others that follow will also overcome cancer. The only way to beat cancer long term is the research that goes into it, and unfortunately this costs lots of money and takes time. Rosemere Cancer Foundation do a great job at raising funds for this research to continue and they do so much in and around Lancashire and South Cumbria, not only to raise funds, but also to raise awareness. I know many people who dedicate a lot of time and effort to help in this area. Although I am a Coeliac and cannot eat most cakes and treats (something which I miss immensely) I was asked to be a judge of the “Rosemere Cake Off”, which is a charity event to raise funds for Rosemere. I was delighted to be asked and jumped at the chance to be a visual judge (although I am secretly hoping for some Gluten Free entries as well). The “Cake Off” takes place on November 8th at Kingsfold Community Centre (details can be found on the Rosemere website) and is looking for entries in different categories, so this is an invitation to anyone who considers themselves to be able to make a good looking and tasty cake to come along and enter the competition. I will report back in a few weeks with the verdicts and winners. This week has been a good week and hope that these weeks continue, my only wish is to feel more energetic but as my doctors have said – this will take time and as a positive person, I think of this as something to look forward to rather than being upset that I can’t yet go for a run.

Boiler Breakdown

We started off on Friday in a cold house with no hot water or heating which was a struggle with two young kids. Luckily, John Denby, was due on Friday to fit the new boiler and get us warm again. I had to work so I let them in and let them do their thing while I went to work. I arrived back in the early afternoon and found that they had almost fitted the new boiler and although they had to come back on Monday to finish off the job they left us over the weekend with heating and hot water. It was good as you could really tell the difference almost immediately. They had flushed out the system as well so all the system worked really efficiently, fully warm radiators was bliss. On Friday evening I had arranged a meal out with work and a few drinks afterwards to celebrate the end of my Chemotherapy treatment. I really enjoyed the night out and ate well and drank probably a little too much, we went dancing and carried on drinking after the meal, and I finally I got home around 4am, after a thoroughly good night out. Saturday was spent with the boys and recovering from the night before. It was good to spend time as a family and we also managed to get a few jobs done around the house. On Saturday it was Leonie’s turn to have a night out, so she went to stay at a friends in Poulton-Le-Fylde and have a girly night. This meant I could catch up on the sport on TV. On Sunday I got the boys up and we walked to St Leonard’s church, Penwortham for the harvest festival and Church Parade, Oscar was excited fort his first parade and was dressed in his uniform. After lunch we had a TV day and I watched the Formula and England match, it was good to relax after a busy week. The weeks are suddenly filling up with things to do and now I am back at work almost full time, I am finding my life pretty full again, although it is tiring getting back into the swing of things. Sometimes I forget what I have been through as I carry on as I was before and life continues. Being pragmatic about the whole illness has helped, but sometimes you need to stand back and think about what has happened, and I still find it a little shocking. John Denby came back on Monday to finish off and tidy up the boiler. I worked from home and got a lot of work done in my home made office, using the kids Lego table as a desk! Tuesday I was back in work and my workload is increasing and keeping me busy, I am now doing 5 days at 5 hours a day, so I am now almost working full time, less than four months after major surgery and having my stomach removed – it has been quite a challenge but at the moment I am really enjoying this period. Most of the symptoms have faded or gone completely and I feel optimistic about the future. I still haven’t found the motivation to get back into running and cycling and this has been my biggest issue over the last few weeks, however on Wednesday I was booked into see a psychologist at the hospital to help with my motivation and worries that I have at the moment. Dr Ridley is specialised in dealing the problems that cancer patients experience so hopefully with her guidance I can start on the path to getting fit again. I feel physically capable to do it but I have some fears that I would like to overcome first, and hopefully Dr Ridley will be able to help me conquer them over the next few sessions. I will then be able to focus on some ideas planned for next year in terms of sporting activities.

Last Chemo

I have been looking forward to this week for a long time as it the last week of Chemotherapy medication. The number of tablets that I have to take daily will dramatically reduce, as I won’t have to have the Chemotherapy tablets; from now on it will just be the supplements to help with digestion and nutrition which are all much more manageable. The week has been pretty good with a family filled weekend where my wife’s sister and family came to visit. On the Saturday we were due to take part in the rearranged Rosemere Cross Bay Walk which was to walk across Morcambe Bay from Lancashire to Cumbria, unfortunately this was cancelled yet again on Friday due to safety reasons. In part I was quite happy with this as the last week I have felt much colder than usual and having to walk through water would have probably caused me to take a couple of steps backwards in regards to my recovery. I went to see my oncologist on Friday and I was weighed again and although I am eating plenty and keeping it down much better, I still continue to lose weight and am nearing my lowest weight again, which was 7 ½ stone back in September/October last year when I was experiencing the worst symptoms of my Coeliac Disease. I am quite a thin person anyway, but my weight is usually around 8 ½ stone, so I am losing a couple of pounds each fortnight. This is slightly worrying and I am trying to eat more to manage to maintain my weight, but only time will tell. Hopefully as I finish Chemotherapy this week, my appetite will stabilise and a more normal diet can be eaten. The weekend continued in a good vein and as it was pleasant on Sunday (although a little chilly) we went to Blackpool Zoo with Leonie’s sister and my parent in laws. It was a good day and all the kids loved seeing all the animals. Oscar has a project at school to learn about endangered animals and going to the zoo he leant a lot which will help him with his homework. We saw the tiger cubs and they were very playful, and I like seeing the big cats, the lions were also on form and we managed to see them up close. The orang-utans were good to watch as well. We also sat and watched an impressive sea lion show where the performed lots of tricks for us and the kids found them funny. It reminded me of our honeymoon when we went to the Dominican Republic and enjoyed a similar show at the water park, but that time we were able to sit with the sea lions and their personalities showed through as they gave us each a hug and a very fishy kiss. This week I have increased the number of days at work and I am back doing four days as part of my phased return. The work is piling up and we have a lot going on the moment so it is good that I am spending more time at work, although it can be tiresome. I am still napping in the late afternoon when I can. Unfortunately a good week suddenly turned bad when the boiler packed in on Monday night, so we are currently living in a cold house with no hot water. We have a small electric heater to keep us warm but now the temperature has dropped, we are really noticing the difference. I am having trouble staying warm, even at work, so it has been a bit of a struggle. Cuddling up to the boys has been good as they don’t notice the lack the heat and are like little hot water bottles. We had a local Gas Engineer come out on Wednesday and he has agreed to fit a new boiler for us within a week, as he said the 20 year old boiler would need several parts to work and it would probably be cheaper to have a new one, so we are now waiting in a cold house for the work to start. Wednesday I went back to hospital to continue my Avastin treatment; this is the trial drug which I will continue to have via and IV drip until the end of January. This is nowhere near as long as having a full chemotherapy session, and will only be a half hour session every three weeks. As the chemotherapy treatment has now finished, this will continue and I am now almost all done with the cancer treatment as a whole which is fantastic news. Although the last couple of months has been a struggle with managing the symptoms, I hope I will see an improvement in myself over the next couple of week and I will be able to start training again by running and cycling. I am looking forward to getting back out there, but need to make sure that my body can cope and that I fuel myself right before I head out. Within the next couple of weeks I hope to be back running, even if it is a short distance, but I am excited about getting fit again.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Trip to Blackpool Zoo

https://plus.google.com/108318573088222235475/stories/7190dfbe-e6a1-3409-bc4e-4f773cd03213148e360ef2a?authkey=CMO9_saM56eX8QE

Friday, 3 October 2014

Photos From the Last Couple of Weeks

Birthday Weekend and Visit to Vine House

After the last couple of weeks of feeling a little low and having to cope with the side effects of Chemotherapy, this week I have seen and felt an improvement. Perhaps it was the fact that I was looking forward to my birthday on Saturday and I was able to spend time with my family and friends and relax, or perhaps I was just recovering from the side effects I had been experiencing but either way I was feeling much better, both mentally and physically. At the weekend we had some visits from my parents and my sister to wish me happy birthday; it was good just to sit and spend time with them. In the late afternoon, our friends from Wales (Ema and Dan) arrived as did some other close friends. We had planned to have a few drinks and have a mini party, we will celebrate again next month when my treatment has finished. It was a good night and it was the first time I had gotten drunk since our wedding anniversary in early June. The drunkenness came on really quickly and I could feel the change, however, I sobered up just as quick and even woke without a hangover at 8.30am on Sunday and spent the majority of the morning on my own as everyone slept in to recover from the night before. Everyone had enjoyed themselves and I felt great, it was a really good night. I was tired on Sunday so we didn’t do much. On Monday I was back at work and this week I am increasing my hours, so I am now working 12 hours over three days. Granted I am tired after being at work but this extra hour a day makes all the difference and I can seem to get more done. Since being back at work I am slowly getting back into the swing of things and re-learning some of the work as having three months off I have forgotten some stuff – but people have been great and really supportive. I had been invited to a Cancer Care group at Vine House in Preston on the Tuesday, so after running a few errands in the morning I went there for the afternoon. I haven’t been there before and I was impressed by the services that they offer and the support that they are able to give. There was a presentation to begin with, then I could book to speak to the individuals who were “pedalling their wears”. I spoke to as many that I thought would benefit me, this included NHS Fit Squad; Preston City Council Active Team; NHS Psychology Team; NHS Nutrition and Dieticians and Complementary Treatments including massages. Everybody was really pleasant and had worked within medicine or had been affected by cancer, so they were understanding and empathetic, which goes a long way, I really enjoyed the afternoon and it was an eye opener as to what support is available, Vine House offer a good service to those affected by cancer, not only the individual themselves but also their support network, family and friends. I will definitely be going back to take advantage of what they offer. In the evening we went to 9th Penwortham Beavers to watch Oscar get invested into the group, he was so excited and I was proud of him as he had learned the Beaver promise and was almost shouting it out with pride when he was invested, it was a special moment and reminded me of my time with 9th Penwortham, from Beavers all the way through to being a leader at the Scout Troop, I hope he enjoys his time there as much as I did. Apart from the fatigue, which I am still affected by, I feel much better this week, and I feel upbeat about the next couple of weeks. From the information I received at Vine House, it put my mind at ease. This weekend I will be walking the Rosemere Cross Bay Walk which has been re-scheduled from September, hopefully it will go ahead, I am looking challenge. You are still able to sponsor our efforts at www.justgiving.com/crossbay14

Tough Week and X-Rays

During my chemotherapy treatment last week I had a visit from a dietician, Carloyn Clark. We discussed how my eating was going and what we could do to maintain my weight as I had lost a couple of kilos over the last couple of months. I have a bit of a problem keeping food down while eating and sometimes it comes back up which is never pleasant. She was worried that the internal wound may have not healed correctly between the oesophagus and intestine. So she told me should would book me in for a Barium Swallow X-ray; this would check the join and how I was digesting food in the initial phase; but she was pleased with my overall current condition The chemotherapy is really starting to take it’s toll on me and I am finding it so much harder than any previous treatment. However saying this, last weeks treatment was the last full chemotherapy session that I would have to do so the end is now in sight, and I keep this in mind to get me through the tougher days. The next two days following chemotherapy were tough. I was exhausted and feeling sick. I lost my appetite and wasn’t in the best frame of mind; I felt sorry for myself and had no motivation to do anything so I stayed in and watched TV while the boys were at school and Leonie was at work. It was a difficult couple of days. By the weekend I did feel slightly better so decided to do something and began to redecorate the kitchen, starting by painting the woodwork, which in my current state took me three days to complete, it was really slow going but at least I was doing something and felt a little more motivated to get up and achieve something. The sickness and strange tastes were still present and I was wasn’t eating much but I wanted to just get over this first week after chemotherapy as I know this is always the worst part. Monday I was back at work for a couple of hours and I had a good chat with Karyn. We talked openly she does worry about me and wants me to be comfortable and healthy, I began to get emotional, but Karyn is a good person and talking with her helped a lot. The Barium Swallow X-Ray was booked for Tuesday morning and although I knew in the back of my mind it wasn’t and invasive procedure I felt nervous for some reason. I was taken into the X-Ray room and the procedure was explained to me and I was asked to get into the machine. I stood up and had to swallow a very thick, chalky drink several times while they recorded the swallowing on the X-Ray. It wasn’t too pleasant but manageable. After this I had a different drink which was very fizzy and caused a lot of wind, this wasn’t helped by the fact that the machine was now moving from a standing position to being led down. Again the recording was taken. I was able to see the video of the X-Ray afterwards and the doctor explained what was happening. It was really interesting to see, but he did mention that about 2/3rds of the swallows were going into a dead end of the oesophagus. It is quite hard to explain but they were stating in situ and when I swallowed again this was causing a blockage and forcing itself back up. He told me that the wound had healed well and that the action that was occurring was mechanical and he would not know what could be done to ease this, but he would send his findings back to Mr Ball, the surgeon. This was good and bad news in my eyes, I was healing well but there is a small problem which may never be fixed and I would need to manage this by eating much slower and being more careful when eating. I went home in a better mood and was relived that X-Ray was over, although it wasn’t that bad after all, but I don’t know what would need to be done in the future. At the moment I am feeling a little better, it is taking longer to get back to normal and get over the exhaustion and I sometimes feel overwhelmed with what has happened over the last 9 months as I take stock and look back at the journey so far. It’s almost over and I need to start looking to the future and remember that I will have beaten cancer.

Bolton Abbey and Chemo Round 6 - The Final Session

Over the weekend we wanted to take the boys out and as it was a nice day we decided to take them to Bolton Abbey. We thought that after our trip out to Pendle the week before that Oscar and Sidney would enjoy a walk along the river and around the ruins of the abbey. We took a picnic with us and drove over to Skipton. We had lunch when we arrived and had a look around the shop before walking along the river. The area around Bolton Abbey is really beautiful and the kids enjoyed throwing stones into the river. Oscar wanted to cross the river via the stepping stones and he made it half way across before he struggled to reach the next stone and I had to rescue him! We then walked along the river and the boys enjoyed the obstacles on the "welly walk". We took our time walking and then crossed over the river and had an ice cream before making our way back to the abbey and having a wander around the ruins. It was a really good day out and all the family enjoyed the trip out. We will definitely go back and we found a campsite near by so thought we would go back to camp next year. On Monday the boys were both in school full time and I went to work again. I enjoy work and really appreciate being back as I think I was getting a bit crazy staying at home! Going to work gets me out and about and I get to see people as well. At work I managed to get some work that I could take home with me and this gives me something to focus on for the next couple of months. I'm not due in work for the rest of the week as it is my last chemotherapy session this week. This is a major milestone as its the end of the major treatment. I will still have the trial drug until the end of January but this week is the last time I will be spending all day at Rosemere. I went to see my oncologist and we went through the symptoms that I had experienced since my last chemotherapy. I have had numb fingers and been a little dizzy and sometimes I lose focus. All these have been new symptoms so we spent a bit of time discussing them. Dr Mitchell said it may be that I am anaemic or that I need vitamin B12 so they asked me to do a blood test and they would check all my levels. They also tested my blood pressure which is on the low side, this isn't a problem as they would be more concerned if it was too high. We had a good chat with the nurse as well. Claire is really pleased with my progress and is happy that I have done so well and that I am able to go back to work. She encourages me and this motivates me in my recovery. As it is my last chemo session on Wednesday, we decided to celebrate with a meal out on Tuesday evening. We went to our local indian, Shampan, and enjoyed a meal, just the two of us. I couldn't quite finish my meal but gave it a good go and enjoyed what I could manage. On Wednesday we went to Rosemere for my final full session. The bloods had come back and they couldn't have been any better. They showed I had enough B12 and that I wasn't anaemic and all other results were good. They had also screened for bowel cancer and this had come back negative. We were good to go for my last session so I was hooked up and given my treatment, another milestone passed.

Pendle Walk and Back To Work

At the weekend we were due to complete the Cross Bay Walk in aid of Rosemere Cancer Foundation; this was an 8 mile walk across Morcambe Bay. Unfortunately we had word on Friday that it was too dangerous to go out on the sands from the Queens Guide, Cedric Robinson. The walk had been cancelled. I was really excited about completing the challenge as were my wife Leonie, my parents and my father in law. The walk has been rearranged for the 4th October and I really hope that we can complete it then. Thanks to all the people that have sponsored us so far, and if you would like to sponsor us for the event you can do so via the following web page; www.justgiving.com/crossbay14/ Saturday was a bit of a wash out but we took the boys out for a while and strolled around Preston Docks. I used to use the docks as a training run and run laps around the basin which is 2.5k. It is a good place to run and I like the docks, especially at night with the lights shimmering off the water and the views over to Preston City Centre. I went out into town on Saturday evening for a few drinks with work colleagues, this was my first night out since my operation and I was a little nervous about going out, but after a drink or two I relaxed and began to enjoy myself. I wasn’t out for long and caught the bus home, although I didn’t drink much I didn’t get drunk and I am still not sure if I will be able to get drunk again as some doctors say I will get drunk quicker (this has not happened) and some say I will be unable to get drunk, the jury is still out on this one. As the weather improved on Sunday we took the opportunity to go out for the day and we aimed for Pendle. We had looked up the area and found a Witches Sculpture Trail starting in the small village of Barley. We parked up and found a picnic park where we had our packed lunch before heading out on the trail. The views across to Pendle Hill were stunning and were made even better with the sun shining on us. The trail was perfect for the boys and we had to try and find bats, owls and broomsticks. It was a really good trail and kept the boys entertained without tiring them out, it was a perfect family day and we all really enjoyed it, finishing off the day with an ice cream from the little shop back in Barley. I was due back at work on Monday; it has been agreed between HR, my oncologist, my manager and myself that I would complete a phased return over 6 weeks. I was due to work 3 hours and after taking some time to get logged in and say hello to everyone, it was time to leave and get back home. It was tiring but good to see everyone. I went back home and had a nap in the afternoon after having something to eat. I am due to do 3 days a week and gradually build it up over the 6 week period until I am back full time. They have been great at work to help me get back into work, really understanding and they really couldn’t do enough for me, for which I am grateful. As I was back at home on Tuesday, my parents decided to come over for the morning and help out with the garden. It was another nice day and it was good to be outdoors again. This was pretty tiring again so I took plenty of breaks but we got a lot done and the garden is looking much better. The boys are well into school now and they both love it. Sidney is still only doing half days at the moment but as of next week will be full time. Oscar has also joined 9th Penwortham Beaver Colony. His first night was Tuesday and before going he was really excited, but as we walked up to the Scout hut he began shaking with nerves. We made sure he was OK and the leaders, Liz and Margaret were really good with him. We popped in for a chat with my sister while he had his first night at Beavers, before going back to pick him up. He really enjoyed himself and can’t wait to go back. I went to 9th Penwortham Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Ventures before finally becoming a Leader at the Scout Troop. I finished because of us having children; I really enjoyed the Scout movement and it taught me a lot so I am very happy that Oscar likes it too and hope that Sidney will enjoy going as well. I was back at work for half a day on Wednesday and again found it tiring, but I think having the phased return will help me get into the swing of things again and help build up my strength too. It will be good to see how I am able to increase my strength over the next few months and how it will affect my diet; now I am doing more and more each day, I am finding myself eating more and being more hungry, managing my food intake while I increase activities will have to be one of main focus points over this next period of recovery as I have lost weight since my operation, not much, but I don’t want to lose anymore.

Catch Up

I know I haven't blogged for a while so to get you all up to date I will post the articles I have written weekly for the Lancashire Evening Post over the last couple of weeks. The past month has been quite busy, a few family weekends and a tough round of Chemotherapy as well as my birthday, but I am now nearly at the end of the Chemo treatment and I feel much more positive. Its odd to think that less than 9 months ago I was diagnosed with Stomach Cancer, and less than four months ago I had the tumour removed by surgery and now I am back at work (albeit on a phased return). The Chemo has taken its toll on my body since surgery and I feel fatiuged almost all the time. It has been so much harder to deal with and this in turn has brought about some low moods and a big blow to my motivation. I have also found it frustrating to not be able to do simple daily tasks and I feel a great urge to go out running, but at the same time I know running is a bad idea just now, but I do miss pounding the pavements and clocking up miles. Anyway, I will post the last couple of weeks and hope you enjoy catching up!!